Active infrastructure devices come into focus with 5G

Oct. 8, 2020
Products that bring efficiency to the deployment of 5G antennas are honored with Innovators Awards.

The expected onslaught of 5G antenna (and fiber) installations has brought to the forefront the need for efficient, innovative products and support systems. Both honorees in the Active Infrastructure Devices category of our 2020 Cabling Innovators Awards help to make 5G deployment and operation more efficient.

PowerShift 2000FA is the latest addition to CommScope’s PowerShift family of intelligent plug-and-play DC power supplies. In cellular networks, PowerShift regulates the voltage at the remote radio unit (RRU), keeping it at a constant -54 VDC on a steady basis without a tower-top converter. “Cell sites are steadily demanding more and more power at the top of the tower,” CommScope explains. “New radios, as well as those in development, need more energy to help meet the world’s insatiable thirst for more capacity and faster throughput. These radios, whether in an LTE network or a new 5G network with massive MIMO architecture, have raised the average wattage requirements per RRU from 100 to 300 watts at the turn of the century to 1 to 2 kilowatts today. Moreover, operators are installing more RRUs at the tower top than ever before.” Typically, thicker and heavier copper cables would be used to deliver power to these new RRUs. “What the industry needed was a way to keep using the same copper cables that were on a cell site, even as the radio’s power requirements increased,” CommScope further explained. “This would enable a simpler, less-expensive upgrade. It also would allow a company to standardize its cabling, deploying the same diameter cables across all sites, effectively lowering inventory costs.” The PowerShift 2000FA can supply up to 2000W per RRU in a one-rack chassis, supporting up to 4 RRUs per rack, with both ganged and front inputs to make connections easy in tight spaces. It also increases battery backup times by as much as 50%.

The Vertiv eSure C48/58-1000 Power Extend Converter economically boosts voltage up to -58 VDC to support increasing power needs of remote radio heads on cell towers. The compact device, which is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, plugs into an existing DC distribution panel in the same position as a single-pole bullet circuit breaker, conserving usable space. Describing the technological circumstances that make the eSure C48/58-1000 Power Extend Converter a valuable innovation, Vertiv explains, “5G-friendly radios require more power at the top of cell towers. A voltage drop between the power system at the tower’s base and the radio at the top can trigger a shutdown of the remote radio head before the equipment provider’s backup battery fully discharges.” The eSure Power Extend Converter consumes 0 units of additional rack space. Multiple units can operate in parallel to support radios requiring up to 3 kW of input power. Vertiv has developed a calculator to help operators determine the number of converters required to power the radios at their site, and how to position the devices optimally in the distribution panel.

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